The grand alignment between Sales and Marketing team has always been the talk of the corporate realm, and has become a fairly common subject of debate. Undoubtedly, the alignment of the two equally significant teams has been the holy grail for any business to run and thrive. And why won’t it be? After all, both the teams complement each other and cannot sustain independently.
The Perpetual Fall Out Between Marketing and Sales
It’s normal to see sales and marketing departments are at arm’s length citing various reasons. Sometimes it is the volatile market, or the distributed workforce, internal politics, ego clash – many more such factors are responsible for the constant bickering between the two teams, which is detrimental for any organization.
However, no matter what the root cause of the trouble is, experts have always thought of finding a solution to end this age-old squabble between the sales and marketing team and come up with an alignment between the two.
What does Sales and Marketing Alignment Imply?
Now, if you ask what exactly sales and marketing team alignment implies, you have to dig deeper into the inherent traits of both teams. One focuses solely on working directly with prospects and converting them into paying customers. While the other engages in building brand awareness and spark the target audience’s interest in the product. The marketing team attracts the leads and ushers them towards the sales funnel; sales guys work directly with the buyers and persuade them to purchase.
In the last 2-3 years, a new concept of Smarketing has come up – a portmanteau of ‘Sales’ and ‘Marketing’ that refers to a strategic alignment of the two integral departments. It is an approach of integrating direct sales and indirect marketing and optimizing the efforts.
And Why is it Vital for Businesses to Run Smoothly?
Aligning both parties can lead to phenomenal growth for a business that improves lead generation efforts, boost revenues, acquire more quality leads and reduce cart abandonment.
Every successful brand worldwide has either adapted smarketing or has evolved this technique to perfection. It is a no-brainer that sales and marketing alignment is your organization’s biggest potential to grow and outsmart the competition.
So how do you align sales and marketing teams to bring higher productivity and customer service? In today’s Blog post, we have broken down a few proven and tested strategies how to align sales and marketing in your business and adapt the ‘smarketing’ way of managing your teams.
1. Choosing the Right Software is Imperative
Having the same tools and software greatly bridges the two teams’ gap. Because same tools and software create a clear set of the process right from the sales to the marketing and vice versa, streamlining the customer journey.
This also helps in keeping things simple and straightforward. Overcomplicating processes can never bring harmony and consistency between teams.
2. Sharing Goals Work Big-Time
Interestingly, around 85% of businesspeople say that having the same KPIs and objectives can bring greater achievement in terms of business growth and success. This cannot be more true if you want to put an end to their differences and bring about an alignment between sales and marketing teams.
Encourage the team members to generate a feeling of inclusiveness, integrity and instill this belief that they are working together for a common cause. A shared goal is the first step to managing the teams and making them agree upon business decisions.
3. Strategizing a Well-Defined SLA together is a Great Idea
Make sure you bring your sales and marketing guy to strategic meetings pertaining to market dynamics, creating a buyer persona, and coming up with custom solutions. The main cause of the rift between the two teams primarily arises from the feeling that the other team is not competent enough.
This erroneous notion of incompetency must be avoided at all costs. Craft a proper Service Level Agreement and mark the expected responsibilities. This agreement should also showcase the expected deliverables from all the teams.
Make sure your marketing team shares details for every MQL (Marketing Qualified Leads) to your salesteam, and the latter must record all the data in your dedicated CRM. This distinctly structural and aligned record-keeping process by both teams will guarantee more data-driven business decisions.
4. Agreeing upon Qualified Leads must be the Priority
Taking a cue from the above point of the MQL database, the first step of generating the MQLs must be agreed upon by both teams. Because lead handoffs rapidly become the point of a clash between the two teams.
By defining how exactly the leads should be acquired and how fast the sales should take action, the teams can create better efficiency and faster response time.
5. Checking in Regularly with the Team can go a Long Way
No matter the constant communication and record-keeping in every step, there’s no better substitute for regular check-ins. Being the business owner, make sure you do a periodic check-in with your marketing and sales team to find out any matter of dispute or disagreement.
Doing that will help you find instant solutions and also help you act as a bridge between your two vital departments. Maybe there are certain sales activities like sending regular emails that can be automated. Or your sales guys have a lot of cold leads that need a boost up, wherein your marketing guys can help.
Your regular presence at sales meetings will allow you to discuss with the marketing guys and find logical solutions. This way, you can also find if the teams are misaligned or truly aligned.
6. Agreeing on Business Operations and Processes is a Must!
Whenever any form of cross-functional interaction happens, clashes are bound to happen. Likewise, the moment you roll out your new strategy or start on a new project, it’s obvious that your sales and marketing managers will interact. And if there’s any bit of misalignment in the shared interest and goals, a dispute will break out.
To handle this, think of a standard repeatable model that allows seamless cross-functional interaction between all teams, and not just the sales and marketing teams. Think of creating a sort of protocol for how the teams will interact amongst each other. These fixed elements will boost collaborative engagements between all the teams in your organization.
7. Fostering a Positive and Collaborative Spirit Helps Greatly!
The basic understanding of how your business objectives and how they are related to each other helps to foster a positive collaborative spirit amongst teams. Break the ice between your sales and marketing team by creating a collaborative work environment to mitigate any division or misalignment.
Set a cultural expectation that inspires these departments to work together as a team. This is one of the prime steps to achieving sales and marketing alignment.
8. Defining Sales Funnel Stages Jointly Means Higher Lead Scoring Rate
One of the best practices to align your marketing and sales teams is, while defining leads and executing a lead scoring operation, involve both the teams throughout the process. This joint involvement is crucial to determine the sales funnel stages in measurable terms. Like how would the lead classification be amongst hot leads, warm leads, and cold leads!
All the parameters and KPIs should be known by both groups. Similarly, for certain automation integration (any MAP or CRM tools), transparent communication between teams is imperative.
9. Coming Up with a Valid Smarketing Funnel is Extremely Crucial
As the name suggests, smarketing enables a mix of both sales and marketing and adapting the concept into your business strategies. In a perfect world, this stands as the sales team needs a marketing department to boost lead acquisition.
And vice versa, the marketing guys require valuable customer insights from the sales team. Ensure you have your smarketing approach in place and chalk out an optimized sales funnel comprising a well-defined led nurturing strategy.
As known, marketing is usually responsible for lead nurturing, as in ushering the customer towards the sales funnel. See that both the teams are working together in all the customer touchpoints, and each stage\conversion point has a dedicated manager to guide the customer to the next conversion checkpoint.
Let your two teams divide this responsibility amongst them as to who will be responsible for which stage. Once these potential conflicting areas are sorted, you will have a great sales funnel and customer journey for your target audience.
10. Centralizing all Business Communications is Critical for a Seamless Alignment
Never let poor communication hamper the unity between the two indispensable teams in your organization. Faulty communication is one of the greatest contributors to sales and marketing misalignment and internal conflict. Centralize all your interactions through high-end tools available these days.
There are a plethora of such tools to ramp up your workforce and keep all communications in one unified place or cloud. Keep all the updates posted there for easy access and keep everyone in a loop.
So, what does it look like when both these teams work as one? Well, there are manifold benefits of sales and marketing working together. You can very well imagine the amount of positivity and energy nurtured within the environment!
Maintaining an alignment between sales and marketing team should be the topmost priority of any businessperson or brand owner, as this unity is critical for business success. Both the teams are equally important and cannot work on their alone. The tips and guides mentioned above are instrumental in aligning your sales and marketing strategy and leveraging their maximum potential.
However, these strategies are not one-size-fits-all, and given every business is unique, you must look for solutions customized for your nature of business. And only a professional team with years of hands-on experience in the field of digital marketing and communication can assist you in this.